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War of the Worlds
by HG Wells
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War Of The Worlds
War Of The Worlds
Buy this Double-sided poster at AllPosters.com

 Sin City - Nancy
Sin City - Nancy
Buy this Poster at AllPosters.com

 Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead
Buy this Mini Poster at AllPosters.com

 Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead
Buy this Mini Poster at AllPosters.com

 Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead
Buy this Poster at AllPosters.com

 Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead
Buy this Poster at AllPosters.com

 Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
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 Dawn of the Dead
Dawn of the Dead
Buy this Poster at AllPosters.com

 Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead
Buy this Mini Poster at AllPosters.com

Mariah and the Painted-On Abs
Tuesday, July 5, 2005 6:19 PM

Last night as I was flipping the channels, I happended across Mariah Carey performing at the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular. Now normally, that wouldn't be worthy of commenting here but...

As I was watching the performance I said to my wife, "Hey, doesn't it look like someone painted on Mariah's abs?"

She didn't think so and attributed it to Mariah working out and dancing. Still it looked kind of funky to me.

Before flipping on to new channels, I said, "I still think it looks like she had those abs painted on."

Well guess what...

Back from the Land of the Dead
Tuesday, July 5, 2005 5:41 PM

Sequels are rarely as good as the original. There are far more Jaws 2's than there are Godfather 2's. And the farther you go down the sequel path, the more likely you are to see a mess.

That's why I'm happy to say that George A. Romero's Land of the Dead is a welcome addition to his zombie series.

My favorite is still "Night of the Living Dead." I doubt that any zombie movie will ever top NOTLD, not only because everything came together on it [the low budget, shooting in black and white, a cast of unknowns, etc.], but also because it was the first zombie movie to really get to me. These weren't island zombies or some mummy come back to life. These were our neighbors, our friends and even our family members who were crawling out of the grave to eat us!

Land of the Dead is my second favorite of Romero's quartet [followed by Dawn of the Dead and then Day of the Dead]. While I generally don't like the idea of "smart" zombies, I was intrigued by the idea that these zombies were starting to learn. I thought all of of the actors were well cast. The use of fireworks as a plot device was a cool idea. Heck, I can even go with the idea that money still has value [although that plot element to me was the weakest].

Land of the Dead is supposed to be Romero's final zombie movie, but I wouldn't mind see him come back for another.

War of the Worlds and War of the Words
Sunday, July 3, 2005 3:04 PM

Tom Cruise has been in two battles lately. One, The War of the Worlds with Steven Spielberg; the other, The War of the Words with Brooke Shields.

Let's start with the one that most people can get behind, The War of the Worlds. This update is a worthy successor to the classic 1953 film. And although I've never read the book by HG Wells, what I have read indicates that the film doesn't veer too far from Wells' basic ideas.

War of the Worlds is a movie that should be seen in a crowded theater. It's a big, explosive, exciting summer picture worthy of the Independance Day Weekend slot. Cruise does a fine job of being a jerk of a father who finds himself forced to be responsible for the lives of not only himself but also his two children.

Dakota Fanning is, as always, excellent. She is one of the finest actors working today. Tim Robbins shows up in a supporting role and pulls it off better than I would have expected since he's playing against the type of role we usually see him play. And of course, Stephen Spielberg rules. Any quibbles I would have with this film would truly be nitpiks and War of the Worlds was too much scary fun to do that. If you haven't seen War of the Worlds, you should. And before it comes out on dvd.

Now for Cruise's recent War of the Words with Brooke Shields and Matt Lauer. Tom's been acting strange lately. In fact, it's been the talk all over the internet and entertainment news shows. I've avoided discussing it here, since I figured that Tom was just in love and attributed his jumping on couches and screaming, to his infatuation to Katie Holmes and her apparent conversion to Scientology.

Yet, Tom's recent behavior has gone beyond what can be excused by the excitement of a new romance. When Cruise spoke out against psychiatry and the use of medicine, well, that's his opinion and he's entitled to it [as wrong as he may be].

But when he personally criticized Brooke Shields for her use of medication while dealing with depression and then argued with Matt Lauer while claiming that he [Cruise] knew the "history of psychiatry" when he so clearly doesn't have a clue... to me crosses the line.

I wonder what's up with Mr. Cruise. He used to be such a respectful, polite guy. Something has gotten a burr under his sadle.. .

Or maybe he just needs to take a "chill pill."

Twilight Zone Marathon
Saturday, July 2, 2005 11:31 PM

Long time ZONE readers know that one of my biggest pleasures as a kid was staying up late and watching scary movies and tv shows.

I still get a kick out 'em.

You can imagine how much I enjoy it when the Scifi channel runs it's Twilight Zone marathon.

Starting at 11PM tomorrow night and running until 4AM on the 5th, you can tune in and watch the classic Twilight Zone episodes from the 60's. While I doubt that many of us will last for all 29 hours, there are many episodes worth checking out, including two of my favorites.

The first, "Terror at 20,000 Feet" involves a man [played by William Shatner] who has just been released from a mental institution.

On a plane ride home he sees
a creature on the wing of the plane trying to destroy the engine... but no one else
sees it.
He knows it's out
there, but everyone believes
that he's having another breakdown...

The second is called "To Serve Man."

Aliens arrive on Earth and all indications are they came in peace... but do they really?

Even if you can't watch them all [and who can?], maybe you can plan to tune in to see an old
or one you've never seen before.
I know that I will...

And for just a little while I'll be a kid again, up
on the couch hoping that someone else
besides me and Bill Shatner sees the
creature on the wing!

Heroes Con 2005 Report
Friday, July 1, 2005 12:00 PM

MIke and I arrive in Charlotte at a little after 7PM on Thursday. While checking in to the Weston we see Hal, Matt and Kwan from the Comic Art List. Brian Stelfreeze
and Cully Hamner are also in the lobby.

I call James "The James" Howell and he tells me he'll arrive at the hotel in a few minutes. Mike and I put our things in our room. We freshen up a bit and head back down to the lobby. It's been about 10 minutes and still no "The James." Matt, Hal, Mike and I head back up to my room to wait for "The James" arrival.

Matt remembered to bring me a Stallone piece that Steve McNiven did for me at MegaCon after I left. Heroes hasn't even started and I already have a new addition to
my gallery! ; ) "The James" arrives and so we head down to the lobby.

As we're all getting ready to go out for dinner, "The James" says, "Have you all seen Batman Begins? Wasn't it great?" Everyone has seen it and agrees... except for me.

I say that I liked it, but had some problems with it. "The James" gives me a look like
I just threw up in his cereal [he's the king of giving people looks]. "What problems
did you have?" he asks. So I begin to lay out a few of them. With each one "The James" looks pained and then gives me a rationalization.

As we're walking, Brian Stelfreeze, Cully and their crew appear. We all say, "hi" and stop to talk for a minute. Brian then says, "Have you all seen Batman Begins?
Wasn't it great?" ["The James" gives me a smug smile.] Everyone nods and says, "yeah"... everyone except for me. I say, "I liked it, but had some problems with it." Since we're all going out in different directions, I say that I'll talk to him about it later.

We head over to dinner, and all through the course of the meal the discussion is Batman Begins. Everyone but "The James" agrees that I've brought up some valid concerns. "The James" just doesn't see it. He's like Tom Cruise talking about Katie Holmes when it comes to Batman Returns. We all head back to the hotel and end
up talking art, comics, movies and playing a movie trivia game. "The James" is nearly unbeatable.

The next morning, I'm up early. Mike is sleeping in and coming over after the show starts, but since I've scored a special guest pass via John Higashi [who is arriving
on Saturday], I can get in early. "The James" and I meet in the lobby and decide to pass on the $16 breakfast buffet and go for the $2.75 bagel. We hang out in the
lobby and talk to different folks as they pass through. Rico comes by looking for
some dish soap to wash his baby's bottle. Casey Jones passes through and says
that he's going to have a Stallone piece for me by the end of this show! Matt and
come down.

Brian Stelfreeze and Cully come through. Someone brings up Batman Begins [it wasn't
me, I promise]. I tell Brian some of my concerns.

He listens and says, "You know, you're right.
I hadn't thought of that!"

[I give "The James" a smug smile.] I say, "Overall
I liked it though and expect the sequel to be even better."

We all head over to the show. I get in James Jean's line for Paul Singh who can't make the show. Man, it seems that everyone wants something from James Jean. I give him Paul's reference and money for Paul and
say that John Higashi will take the art back with him.

I stop by and say, "Hi" to Adam and Alison. I
get on Rick Leonardi's list. He says he's going
to draw Rambo. I look for Nat Jones who hasn't arrived yet. I talk with Mike Ploog and lay the groundwork for John Higashi to get a take home commission. I get on Cliff Chiang's list.

I spend a lot of the day hanging out with the guys from Tsunami Studios: Gary McKee, Jason Walker, Mike Torrence and Brian Walker. I set
up a water color Stallone piece from Gary and Jason and I agree to a future Stallone piece. I check back on Nat Jones throughout the day,
but he looks to be a no show... as does Craig Hamilton.

Dinner that night is at Uno's. There are 14 of us
so we get two tables. The place is packed, but
we get seated pretty quickly. I'm at the quiet table
[yeah, Gary McKee is at the other one and no Beatty this year].

After dinner we head up to the Tsunami Studios room. Brian Walker gifts me a Stallone
piece that he did! We're all laughing and talking junk when some of us discover
that two of the people sitting at Gary's
table for dinner, work in the porn industry! Gary is also shocked and we're all laughing because he didn't know that when he shared his beef tips with the woman. Gary gets all flustered which makes everyone laugh harder.

The next morning I am awakened by a phone call at 6AM from John Higashi. He's driven through the night [on 2 hours of sleep after a full day of work] and is ready for some breakfast. I get cleaned up and head down. John arrives and we find a Burger King
for some "nourishment." As we're eating John maps out his strategy. He's a day late [but NOT a dollar behind] and he writes down names and locations of artists on his "hit list." Military invasions have been planned with less strategy and I know that Higashi is on a mission.

The show opens and I discover that Higashi hit the ground running. Literrally. And carrying several bags of art. Higashi is already on several artists' lists and he's
also picking up commissions and pages that he worked deals on before the
show even started!

I see Rick Leonardi who has completed my Rambo piece! Cool! Very cool!

I meet Howard Chaykin. He is one of my comic idols. If Howard writes or draws it, I'll buy it. Meeting Chaykin is so cool. He tells me about a new comic that he has coming out. It's in the tradition of Peckinpaugh. It's called Generations and sounds awesome. Chaykin also tells me about a noir comic that he'd like to
do, but so far he hasn't found a publisher. It's a very and dark realistic story. I hope that it finds a home. Chaykin says that he's doing head sketches for ACTOR, but we'd be better off with a home commission. I decide to wait and see if I can work out something later. Meeting Howard Chaykin has been a highlight of ANY convention I've ever been to.

Nat Jones arrives! I head over and talk to him. Nat
says that he usually doesn't sketch at shows, but because he knows I am a fan of his work [and maybe because it's obvious that the piece won't end up on
], and because my theme is different, he agrees
to a sketch! Yeah, baby. I pick up the sketch later in the afternoon and love it. Cobra by Nat Jones.

I get word that Craig Hamilton has arrived. "The James" and I head over to his table. Craig has a piece that he completed for "The James." It's Snow and Big Bad Wolfand it is sooo sweet. I set up a commission with Craig, who decides to do it as a take home piece since
he couldn't get to me last year at Heroes. Craig promises it will be really nice. How could it not be, since Craig is doing it?

Gary McKee has been working all day on my Stallone watercolor piece. He opted to
do Sly as The Punisher. It was cool seeing Gary work on it from concept sketch to finished piece. And I agree with Gary, Sly would have made an excellent Punisher.

I see a lot of friends including Tim Gordon [from The Tampa Comic and Toy Convention], Robert Jewell, and others. Richard "Jaws" Kiel is there. I guess it
goes without say, that he's HUGE. As the show winds down for day two, we head
back to the hotel for the Art Auction. The room is packed. Higashi bids on a few
items and wins one. After the auction, Mike and I decide on pizza in the room.
Normally we'd hang out with the guys again, but tonight we opt to play some poker
[for fun] and watch "Tombstone." Man, Val Kilmer owns that movie. He should have won an Oscar!!

The next morning, we check out of the
room and head over to the last day of the
show. The group immediately gets in Mike Ploog's line. Mike's old school. I grew up on his "Werewolf by Night," "Frankenstien"
and work for Warren. Mr. Ploog is [and has been since the con opened] drawing FREE headshots for fans. Up to this point, I've
never asked an artist to draw Stallone when they're sketching for free. It's one thing to
whip out Batman or Spider-Man or a
character that they've probably drawn dozens
of times. It's a whole different can of worms
to ask them to draw a real person. But this is Mike Ploog!! I decide to ask him to draw Jack Carter and I use Brian Stelfreeze's piece as reference. When it's my turn, I hand over my sketchbook and reference and Mike draws me a nice little Stallone headshot! Whoo-hooo! I have Mike Ploog in my Stallone Gallery!

I check in with Casey Jones and he's done me a great, great piece.

It's Sly from Oscar and the design on the sketch is awesome.

Casey, you are the MAN!!!



Cliff Chiang has completed his Stallone piece. It's a really sweet piece of Rocky and Adrian. Cliff has really captued the essense of both of these characters. I absolutely love it!

Heroes has once again been a great show. I was able to hang out with my son and friends, meet artists who've I've admired and even get new artwork for my Stallone Gallery. I should have better pictures of the artists and scans of my new pieces posted within the next week.

I'm already looking forward to next year to do it all again!

April Fool's Day
and Sin City
A Cool Cover -
A Cool Series
24: A Twist So
Unexpected is Coming
American Idol:
Jessica Sierra Gone
A Change is Coming